Climber survives 5 days on Austrian peak

A German man who fell down a mountain crevasse in Austria has been rescued after five days.

A mountaineer was rescued in the Austrian Alps on Thursday, having survived for five days after dropping down a 30-metre rock fissure, police said.

Rescuers had to overcome communication problems and life-threatening conditions on the mountain to save the 45-year-old German climber at an altitude of 2,050 metres.

The man had set out on his climb on Saturday.

His father alerted German police after the son had not returned several days later.

After Austrian police were informed about the missing man, they were able to locate his snow-covered car near a lake below the mountain.

On Wednesday evening, the mountaineer was finally able to catch a mobile phone signal and send distress calls.

However, the calls broke off after a few seconds, mountain police officer Bernhard Magritzer said.

"My colleague heard someone breathing heavily and reacted in the right way," he said.

After the officer on duty switched communications to text messages, the mountaineer was able to inform him that he had plunged down the crevasse on Saturday, and to transmit his exact location.

"We would not have found him otherwise," Magritzer said.

Braving darkness and a very high avalanche risk, mountain rescuers reached him three hours later and found him with a shoulder and ankle injury.

"Given the circumstances, he appears to be in good condition," a police spokesman said.